in a Sexless Marriage? Find Out What You Can Do
By Susie and Otto Collins
Jason used to believe that he and his wife,
Karen, were just going
through a difficult patch in their marriage.
was very ill for
several months and he completely understood why
they weren't having
sex-- she felt horrible and was dealing with a
lot of pain and
Once Karen recovered from her illness, Jason
suggested that they
start being sexually intimate again and she
always refused him.
Usually she was too tired or said she was
worried that making love
would take too much of her energy, which she was
only just regaining.
This was frustrating to Jason, but he continued
to hold out hope
that this was only temporary.
Now, a full year
and a half later,
Karen is completely recovered. She's resumed all
responsibilities at work and the other
activities that she was doing
before she got sick...except for making love
At this point, Jason doesn't even try to be
romantic or ask Karen to
have sex with him. He doesn't want to be
rejected by her anymore.
He has considered having an affair, but can't
bear the thought of
betraying his marriage vows like that.
Jason is miserable, lonely and feels powerless
to change this
situation. He is thinking about filing for
divorce, but really
doesn't want to.
There are a lot of different reasons why a
couple stops having sex
with one another.
Like Jason and Karen, sometimes a major illness
or disease stands in
the way of sexual intimacy.
For other couples,
experiences such as rape or sexual abuse are the
such as erectile dysfunction or other challenges
can also bring
sexual relations to a standstill.
Aside from these emotional and physical factors,
disagreements, mistrust, tension and built up
resentments can all
play a role in a marriage becoming sexless.
For some couples, "sexless" means that they
don't ever have sex with
one another-- ever. For others, it means that
they do have sex, but
it's very rare, perhaps once every couple of
What's most important is that you acknowledge it
if your sexless
marriage is a problem for you.
Sex drives do
vary from individual to
individual, but if you are unhappy because you
and your spouse are
"never" or "rarely" having sex, this is
something for you to pay
If you are unhappy about being in a sexless marriage, you might also
be feeling resentful, angry or rejected. You may
ending your marriage or you might just feel
We encourage you to take some time to make a
fixating on all of things about your marriage
that you cannot change
right now and rather than telling yourself that
you are stuck, invite
yourself to identify some things that you CAN do
about this situation.
Here are some ideas to help...
Make a "for now" decision about whether you will
stay in or leave your marriage.
Facing the decision about whether or not to stay
in your marriage
can be daunting. It's not a choice to be made
lightly and it might
not be a choice that feels possible, easy or
We urge you to consider all of your options.
Even if you make a
"for now" decision, make a decision. It can help
you feel less
powerless and stuck when you are consciously
choosing your next best
When you are alone and can be undisturbed, sit
down with a piece of
paper and write out every single option
concerning your marriage that
occurs to you.
For now, don't worry about how it
will happen and
don't censor yourself.
As you look over the list, circle those options
which you feel most
drawn to. Do they lean more toward staying for
now or toward
Keep this dialogue with yourself open
and listen to what
Get to the root of the sexlessness.
If you are staying in your marriage-- even if
you're just staying
"for now"-- it's important for you to get a
clearer idea of what is
at the root of the lack of sex in your
If you found writing down ideas that come to you
helpful, do this
again. If not, you can just think about it.
Try to identify the individual and relationship
habits that are
active in your marriage.
These could pertain to
jealousy, past experiences,
long-running arguments or
Without getting side-tracked by who you think is
to blame for the
sexlessness in your relationship, hone in on the
actual habits and
tendencies. Blame will be less effective in
finding a solution.
[By the way, "My spouse agreeing to have sex
with me" is not the
kind of solution we're talking about. That is
the end result you are
looking for, not the solution to get you there.]
As you identify habits, make sure you are being
as objective as
Use tangible behaviors as one
indicator of habits and also
be sure to consider how you feel and how your
partner has said that
he or she feels.
Come up with actions you will take that can
support the kind of
change you want.
Now that you have this valuable information
about your relationship,
you can come up with some actions that can bring
the kind of
improvements you want.
Depending on what you decided, this might
involve you talking with
an attorney and starting the process of ending
If you have decided to stay, you will want to
choose some ideas that
you will possibly talk with your spouse about
This might take
the form of creating relationship agreements
such as: You both will meet with
a relationship coach
or counselor, you two will actively rebuild
trust or as a couple, you
will set aside one evening a week to gradually
re-start intimacy with
To find out more about Susie and Otto's book
Should You Stay or Should You Go? visit our web site at